Page 22 of Don't Look Back

Oh…oh crap. I had forgotten about Del. “This has nothing to do with Del.”

“It doesn’t?”

The bathroom door opened, and Candy swung around, slamming her hand on the door.

“What the hell?” came a startled voice from the other side.

“This bathroom is in use,” Candy shot back. “Go find another.” Facing me, she tossed her hair over her shoulder. “How do you think Del would feel if he knew his girlfriend was making screw-me eyes at another dude?”

“I was not.” I took a step forward, feeling my cheeks flame. “Carson and I are just friends.”

“Since when? I get that you don’t remember anything, but you and Carson are from two different worlds. He hated you. And the feeling was mutual.”

Those three words hit me in the chest harder than they should have. “He hated me?”

She smiled at me like I was a small child who’d just tried to stick my finger in an electric socket. “Do you like him?”

“What?” I shouldered my bag and stalked over to the mirror above the sink, pretending to be engrossed in applying lip gloss. “I already told you I like him as a friend.”

Her face appeared over my shoulder, her eyes catlike. “That’s reassuring, because it would be really awkward if you did.”

“Why?” I snapped the lip gloss shut, fighting the urge to throw it in her face. “Because he’s not rich?”

She scrunched up her nose. “No. Because he totally got with Cassie last summer at a party, and he did the same with Lauren. Carson’s a player.”

Later that night, I had a boy on my bed. Mrs. Messer insisted that I do normal things every day, things that could trigger my memories. And considering my lack of virginity, having Del in my bedroom had to be something familiar.

Mom and Dad were at some kind of silent auction in Philly, and I had no idea where Scott was. He could be anywhere in the massive house, and I’d have no idea.

“Why didn’t you go shopping with the girls?” Del asked, stretching out beside me.

I gave a lopsided shrug and turned my head toward him. His eyes were like warm chocolate, but I had a feeling they could be colder, harder. “I wanted to spend time with you.”

Del appeared to be happy with that, and it was the truth. Spending alone time with him could only help. Apparently we were the things fairy tales were made of, and I wanted to remember it—to feel it. Right now, I felt nothing. My breath didn’t catch, there wasn’t a flutter in my chest or the sweeping heat that—I wouldn’t think of him, especially after what I’d learned about him.

He had slept with Lauren.

And he’d slept with Cassie.

Squeezing my eyes shut, I strung together an atrocity of curse words. I wasn’t going to think about Carson. Seriously. Not when I was with Del. That was wrong on so many levels, and I didn’t need my memories to know that.

I reached out, running the tips of my fingers over the curve of his jaw. His was smooth. I wondered how many times I’d done this in the past.

The simple brush of fingers hadn’t triggered anything in me, but it must have been a sign for Del. His lashes lowered as he rose up on his elbow, hovering over me, not touching, but there, so close.

I swallowed, pulling my hand back to my chest. My breath did catch then, but not out of excitement. Fear and anxiety rode me hard. A questioning look appeared in his eyes, as if he wasn’t sure he should be doing this.

But I wanted him to be doing this. It could help me remember. I needed to remember. Then maybe I’d remember what happened to Cassie.

I nodded and forced my lips into a smile, but I felt my lips tremble.

Del lowered his mouth to my neck, nuzzling the skin there. My fingers curled into the comforter as I pressed my lips together, holding back the word I wanted to scream. Stop.

How many times had we done this? Freaking a lot, I imagined. Why wouldn’t I be kissing and doing all kinds of naughty things with someone who looked like him? And what he was doing was nothing in comparison to how far we’d already gone. Why in the hell couldn’t I remember that?

I closed my eyes, willing my heart to stop racing. This thumping in my chest wasn’t pleasant. Was I having a heart attack? God, that sounded stupid. I wasn’t having a heart attack. Though I kind of wished I were. Then we’d have to stop.

And right then, with the worst timing known to man, I thought of Carson. Why couldn’t Del have such brilliant blue eyes? Or be as goddamned patient as Carson had been at the coffee shop, in the tree house, and in class? No matter whom he’d slept with in the past, I doubted Carson would be fumbling with the buttons on my shirt. He would’ve at least noticed that my arms were shaking and that my fingers were digging into the comforter until my knuckles turned white. Okay. That wasn’t exactly fair to Del. This had been my idea.

My heart jumped again, so I focused on the television. ESPN was on, playing a recording of a baseball game from last season. Go figure. Bottom of the third inning. Atlanta Braves were up to bat. Two strikes and one ball. The batter would have to swing. A dizzy feeling swept over me with the realization that I had such knowledge of baseball.

Del’s hand drew me back to my own body. It rested just below my navel. His fingers brushed under the band on my jeans. I drew in a shallow breath and opened my eyes. “Del?”

His wet kisses moved down my neck, over my collarbone. And his damn hand was traveling farther south. Unable to stop myself, I clamped my thighs together and said his name again.

He lifted his head and stared down at me with muddled brown eyes. “What is it, babe?”

“I…I don’t remember any of this,” I whispered.

“Too fast?” When I nodded, Del stared at me for a moment, then kissed me gently. Just a sweep of his lips over mine, the slightest pressure, really.

I still flinched, and he saw it. Looking hurt, he pulled back a little and removed his hand. Now I felt like crap. “I’m sorry. Really, I am. I...” I didn’t know him. That was the problem. It was like making out with a complete stranger.

He rolled off me and leaned onto his elbow. His eyes went to the television screen. The batter had struck out. “I thought that’s why we were doing this. To help you remember? It was your idea.”

“I know.” I sat up, quickly buttoning my blouse. Hunched over my knees, I stared at the screen. “I really am sorry.”

There was a pause, and I heard him sigh. “It’s okay. No big deal. We’ll…try again later.”